Friday, September 30, 2011


When our friends Dimitri and Annellie, suggested a day trip to Buffalo, NY, to see the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and other local sights, John and I gladly accepted and the four of us set off last Sunday morning -- Dimitri driving and Annellie navigating.
It was a bright sunny day with little traffic so we arrived at the Albright-Knox just as it was opening. That's the original Buffalo Fine Arts Academy building built in 1862 in the background.
The museum is situated on Elmwood Ave just across the street from the Birchfield Penney Art Center.
Their excellent contemporary art collection is displayed in the addition built in 1962. We can see sculptures by Alexander Calder and Donald Judd and in the background a brightly coloured Brice Marsden painting.
A Giacometti sculpture of a walking man strides towards us as a workman retreats down the gallery.
Annellie and John contemplate a beautiful Cezanne.
John loved Joan Mitchell's George Went Swimming at Barnes Hole but it was too Cold (1957).
The museum galleries surround a central courtyard and the Muse Cafe. Inside we see a Maillol torso and outside we can see Jim Hodge's look and see (2005). The Albright-Knox is a gem of a collection -- well worth a visit from Toronto.
Thanks, Annellie and Dimitri for at last introducing us to it and for being such fun travel companions on our art-road-trip!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Buffalo Wings

After the Albright-Knox Museum we were all famished and headed directly to the Anchor Bar at 1047 Main St in downtown Buffalo.
It was here that owner, Teresa Bellissimo first made the famous Buffalo Wings (chicken wings drenched in a hot sauce based on vinegar and cayenne pepper and served with celery sticks and blue cheese dip) in 1964 to feed the hungry college friends of her son.
The rest is legend. We had them with sides of potato wedges, a tomato and onion salad in balsamic vinegar and cole slaw. Soon we were pleasantly stuffed and ready to continue our tour.
John caught this cool picture of the fairy-tale maintenance shed in the parking lot as we returned to the car. Fun, eh?

The Darwin D. Martin House

After lunch at the Anchor Bar, we set off to the historic Parkside neighbourhood of Buffalo, NY to visit the Martin House and complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built between 1903-1905.
It's situated at 125 Jewett St and Summit Avenue. Mr Wright's Prairie Style is immediately recognizable.
We arrived at the Visitor Center just in time to catch the 2PM tour of the complex
and soon were being guided by our charming and knowledgable docent, Patricia, through the buildings and grounds of Mr. Martin's home.
The main house is undergoing major renovations and the beautiful pergola leading to the Conservatory, Coach House and chauffeur's apartments has been recently reconstructed according to Frank Lloyd Wright's original plans and materials.
Here's a glimpse of the beautiful Conservatory with it's copy of the Greek statue, The Victory of Samothrace, that can be seen along the length of the pergola.
Above we find the Dining Room of the Barton House built by Mr Martin for his sister and brother-in-law at the rear of the complex.
Our tour ended in the Coach House which has been converted into the bookstore for the complex. Here's a side view of the property.
Dimitri caught a last shot of the courtyard fountain as we finished our tour and headed back to the car. Do visit! It's a wonderful piece of Americana.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


August found Bill and I at a garden party in Toronto where Mary Anne Cree (centre), one of the storytellers of MaryContrary, is showing us sets-in-progress for a new production of  Cinderella.
This is Cinderella's living room.
 Night falls. That's Mariella Bertelli, another MaryContrary storyteller, on the left.
 Mary Anne is inserting the frame that will represent the garden.
 Scene in the garden with pumpkins.
 Cinderella on her way to the Ball.
 Mariella Bertelli and Mary Anne Cree
 OK -- here's the Prince visiting the sisters in their living room.
MaryContrary will present their finished Cinderella in Rome at the "Festival Internazionale di Storytelling", 29 September -- 2 October. We wish we could be in the audience.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Greg Curnoe: Cutout

The invitation to the launch of the new Greg Curnoe book, Cutout: Shaped Collages 1965-1968, said "Please wear an appropriate handmade tie".
 Bill painted himself a hula girl on brown paper,
And made a wonderful tie for me out of cardboard.
 Cutout is the catalogue of a show curated by Toronto artist Robert Fones for Museum London in London, Ontario. Fones, who won the Governor General's award in March of this year, also designed the catalogue. 
Type Books, the go-to bookstore on Queen Street West, hosted the launch. Staff wore the Cutout tie-bookmarks.
An instant collector's item. I couldn't wait to get it home and have a closer look.
That's a Curnoe "Moustache" on the cover.
 You can count on Robert Fones for appropriate (and quietly gorgeous) typography.
 I flipped through the book and enjoyed these four pages of Curnoe "Ties".
Here's a closer look at the bottom left. Handsome.
"Lip and Chin No. 2" and "Lip and Chin 3". Click on the photo to see it larger. Then you'll see the titles are part of the collage. I love that. Can't wait to start reading this.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gary Evans at Paul Petro

Bill and I met friends at the opening of spce invdrs the new Gary Evans show at Paul Petro this month.
 The gallery was filled with ravishing new paintings. It was a treat to see such a strong collection of new work!
 Full disclosure: I bought one of Evans' paintings at his Echo Chamber show at Petro two years ago and I have been looking at it with increasing pleasure every day since.
 It was fun to meet Mr. Evans -- one of my heros.
One last note: Don't miss the intoxicating survey of Evans' works on paper upstairs. If you've been meaning to add a Gary Evans to your collection while it's still possible you might want to get down to Queen Street West before October 8th.
These photos are snap shots. For proper reproductions of some of his earlier work have a look at Evans' website.

Arcadia's 25th Anniversary

Our home of the past 20 years, Arcadia Artists Housing Cooperative, celebrated it's 25th Anniversary last Saturday.
John and I only managed to record events at the very beginning and very end of the day. The party began on our green rooftop. Here are Leonie and Edie ready for the inaugural speeches.
Bewitching animator, Tabitha Fisher found herself a place close to the action.
Film maker and photographer Edie Steiner, took a moment for a quick edit of her photographs.
Co-operative speakers, Alexandra Wilson (Executive Director, the Agency for Cooperative Housing) and Don Melanson (Board member of the Cooperative Housing Federation of Toronto) chat before the formalities began.
The evening's entertainment was hosted by Eric Fink, accompanied by the pianist he referred to only as "The Professor" (Arcadia's manager, Rebecca Quigley).
Eric, a natural showman and emcee, kept the show of Arcadian performers a smooth, slick event.
Painter, Ann Davidson and her niece, animator, Tabitha Fisher enjoyed the performances amongst the enthusiastic audience of Arcadians, old and new. 
Ken Boville and Wilson McLeish of The Silvertones accompanied Chattrisse 
in a performance of her composition "Your Love".
Cal Woodruff brought the show to a rousing conclusion with a performance of his new song "The Tower".
Happy 25th, Arcadia!